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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Colorado Springs

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February 8, 2012 at 11:00 AM

In passing: Meeting progressive politics in Manitou Springs

"In Passing" posts capture shorter snapshots of places and people we encounter on the road. (Photos courtesy of Alex Stonehill, A.V. Crofts and Flickr Creative Commons/UW Election Eye)

MANITOU SPRINGS — It was the calm before the Santorum storm.

On a chilly Tuesday afternoon with snow flurries swirling, just hours before Rick Santorum’s surprising win in the Colorado Republican Party caucuses, we followed the example of a number of former U.S. presidents, including Teddy Roosevelt.

We went to the Colorado mountains and Manitou Springs for a pause from the impending caucus craziness.

Squint while standing on the town’s main street, Manitou Avenue, and you could be in a Spaghetti Western. Or Roslyn, WA. Our team’s Colorado native, Jason Gilmore, keyed us in to this serene mountain town that he’s been visiting since he was “knee high to a grasshopper.” It’s one of his favorite places.

It was easy to see why.

Snuggled near Pikes Peak west of Colorado Springs, this historic resort spot is famous for its restorative springs, proximity to the Garden of the Gods, memorable shops such as a charming Penny Arcade, and independent people.

Over hot beverages at Marika’s Coffeehouse, A.V. Crofts and I met one of them, Alan Delwiche, for a conversation about his hometown and the local political scene. Delwiche, whose son Aaron is an alum of the UW Department of Communication, is active in local Democratic Party politics.

Alan Delwiche, resident of Manitou, Col., outside Marika's Coffeehouse, on Manitou Avenue (Photo by A.V. Crofts / UW Election Eye)

Delwiche moved to Manitou Springs in 1982, and has seen the town bounce back from a decade of neglect in the 1970s. Ironically, this neglect meant that many of the historic buildings still stand, as they were not leveled for new construction in the 1960s and ’70s, while many were in neighboring Colorado Springs.

Back then, “it had a sort of Bohemian flavor,” Delwiche says. Today, Manitou Springs has emerged as a bluish dot in an otherwise red sea in the greater Colorado Springs area.

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Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, Colorado, Colorado caucus

February 7, 2012 at 6:34 PM

In Passing: Colorado Springs Pregnancy Center

"In Passing" posts capture shorter snapshots of places and people we encounter on the road. (Photos courtesy of Alex Stonehill, A.V. Crofts and Flickr Creative Commons/UW Election Eye) COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Spring Pregnancy Center—part of the Life Network—is a small, two-story brick building, positioned conveniently by a bus stop and a Toys…

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Comments | Topics: abortion, Colorado, Colorado Springs

February 7, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Fort Carson: Can a Gen. Patton be transparent?

Driving into Fort Carson (Photo by Corey Christiansen / UW Election Eye)

FORT CARSON — When one thinks of military leaders, an image of Gen. George S. Patton might come to mind. It does for me: A tough, no-nonsense, gruff leader.

When I went to Fort Carson U.S. Army post this afternoon, I expected two things: 1. That their head honcho would be like Patton, and 2. That I would get nowhere near meeting him.

I was wrong on both accounts.

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Comments | Topics: army, Colorado, Colorado Springs

February 6, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Ted Haggard, forgiveness, and renewal in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS — I didn’t want to go. To Ted Haggard’s new church, that is.

In 1984, Haggard founded New Life, a nondenominational church in Colorado Springs that grew to 14,000 members under his leadership. He gained national stature and became president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization of 45,000 churches. But in 2006 he admitted he had an affair with a male prostitute, and resigned his positions as New Life pastor and head of the NAE.

In recent years Haggard has made something of a spiritual comeback, founding St. James, a new church that first met on the Haggard’s property in a barn and now assembles in a local middle school.

As a person of faith, and a scholar, and a journalist, I sometimes find my various roles colliding. Although I was not interested in rehashing Haggard’s history, I was interested in the complicated relationship Protestant Christianity sometimes has with its spiritually wounded.

So I went, albeit reluctantly, to Haggard’s new church Sunday.

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Comments | Topics: Colorado, Colorado Springs, conservatives

February 2, 2012 at 6:37 AM

On the road to Nevada and Colorado caucuses: Sin City, Super Bowl Weekend, Ted Haggard, and Tim Tebow

(Courtesy of flickr/John Wardell)

LAS VEGAS — Call us crazy. Our friends and families certainly do.

This morning we hit the road for another week on the ground of the presidential three-ring circus — er, campaign.

Our first stop is in the bright lights here to chronicle three days of Republican Party campaigning and Saturday caucuses in what are high holy days in the Sin City — Super Bowl weekend. To kick it off, Donald Trump will make a “major” announcement today at 12:30 pm at his eponymous Trump Hotel and Towers on The Strip. We’ll be there — not to see The Donald, but to see what surrounds him. Epic. Absurd. America.

In Vegas, we plan to report on the housing crisis in the nation’s worst-hit city for foreclosures, to examine how people of the Mormon faith thrive in a state known for gambling and legal prostitution, to get some up-close insight into famously inexpensive Las Vegas culinary culture, to shed some light on Newt Gingrich’s largest benefactor and Las Vegas hotel mogul Sheldon Adelson, and to unpack the Nevada Republican Party’s decision to release the caucus results via twitter.

On Saturday we’ll be tweeting results and commentary from caucuses all across Clark County, which houses 60% of the state’s Republican population. The final caucus of the day will be held at a school named for Adelson, which should be interesting.

At dawn Sunday morning we head to Colorado to spend three days exploring conservative (Colorado Springs) and liberal (Denver and Boulder) strongholds in a politically purple state. Mitt Romney has the GOP nomination momentum and is likely to do well in Nevada, but on Tuesday Colorado joins Minnesota and Missouri in voting, so it’s a test of whether Romney can cement national support.

We plan to attend former National Association of Evangelical president Ted Haggard’s new church, which began in a barn after his fall from grace following a sex scandal, and his former church, which meets in a building the size of an airplane hangar. We are set to talk to Air Force Academy cadets and other military members who populate the region. We will hear what Latino Republicans think about their candidates. We want to know what the Obama campaign is doing in this crucial swing state. And we won’t be stunned if we see Tim Tebow somewhere on the campaign trail.

On Tuesday evening we’ll be tweeting results and commentary from various points up and down Interstate 25, which runs from the border of New Mexico to Wyoming, smack through Pueblo, Colorado Springs and Denver, and alongside Boulder, Loveland, and Fort Collins. We’ll probably sing a particular John Denver song while we’re at it.

Please join us here for our posts. Crazy? Maybe. Compelling? Absolutely.

Continue after the fold for some scene-setting information on Nevada. We’ll provide similar context for Colorado on Sunday morning when we catch our breath.

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Comments | Topics: Barack Obama, Caucuses, caucuses